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Velma Hylton requests exclusion from Tivoli Enquiry

Published:Tuesday | March 18, 2014 | 12:18 PM

Governor General Sir Patrick Allen has accepted a request from Queen's Counsel Velma Hylton to be excused as a commissioner for the impending enquiry into the May 2010 police-military operation in West Kingston.



The Governor General's decision was made public in a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) moments ago.



Hylton was named on February 24, along with chairman, Barbadian, Sir David Simmons and former Appeals Court judge, Hazel Harris to judicially investigate the incident that left more than 70 people dead.



Since the announcement, the parliamentary Opposition has opposed Hylton's inclusion owing to comments she reportedly made while serving as a lawyer for a 2002 enquiry involving West Kingston.



Hylton had reportedly said she couldn't understand why the security forces could not shoot women and children if they are being used as shields by criminals.



According to the OPM, Hylton wrote to the Governor-General affirming her "definitive wish" to be excluded from appointment to the membership of the Commission on the Tivoli Enquiry.



Hylton in making the request indicated that, "the proposed Commission of Enquiry is very important to Jamaica and should not be hampered by politics and petty distractions".



The OPM also says, the Government rejects what it calls the unwarranted attacks on Hylton in connection with her role in a previous Commission of Enquiry held over a decade ago.



"It must be noted that Miss Hylton is a Queens Counsel who has served with distinction in high and responsible offices not only in Jamaica but also in other Caribbean countries," a spokesperson said in the release.



West Kingston MP, Desmond McKenzie who has led the Opposition on the matter, accused the Government of being malicious by including Hylton.



He also said the people of Tivoli had written to the Governor General, Amnesty International and the United Nations on the matter.



The Government had stared down the calls for her removal, alleging that the Opposition is attempting to sabotage the enquiry.



It was also revealed that the Opposition was given two weeks to respond to the suggested commissioners but did not.



Opposition Leader Andrew Holness has denied this.



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